When I meet with owners to discuss listing and selling their house, I sometimes encounter an owner who would like to be present when the house is being shown or during an open house. The argument is usually that he or she know the house so well; can answer any questions that a buyer might have, can point out the features of the house and the improvements that have been made. This is a mistake. Let me point out why:

1. “The “Intruder” Sensation—From the moment a potential buyer enters a home for sale, the goal should be to create a comfortable atmosphere where the buyer can imagine themselves living in the house; critically assessing what they like and what they dislike about the house. They can ask objective questions of their realtor (who works for them) about resale value; the neighborhood; traffic; schools; etc. They can sit in the chairs; open the cabinets and doors; flush the toilets; look at the floors under the carpets. If the owner is in the house, the potential buyer feels like an intruder in their home. Rather than taking their time, they tend to rush through; missing key advantages and often afraid to do a thorough check.

2. False Optimism—With an owner present, the potential buyer tends to be complimentary, pointing how much they like the house. The owner may get excited, thinking that they will be receiving an offer. They become convinced this is someone who really appreciates all that they love about the house, when in fact, they might just be getting lip service.

3. Trust the Realtors—Both seller and buyer agents share common goals. The selling agent wants to highlight the real advantages of the house—presenting the house in a way that not only results in a timely sale at the highest price; but also selling it to a buyer who will be happy with the selection and appreciates the features of the house and its environment. They buyer agent is anxious to help his or her clients to find a house that best fits their needs in the shortest amount of time and at the right price.

4. Pet Free—While it is not always possible, it is best if there are no pets in the house during the viewing. The buyer needs to have a relaxing time evaluating the house, not listening to a barking dog or petting dogs or cats. They may love your pet; but you are selling the house, not the pet.

5. Sell the House to Your Realtor, Not the Buyer—Your knowledge about what is great about your house; what improvements have been made; what is good about its location and the schools is clearly better than anyone else. You are the expert. It is important that you not only meet with your realtor to discuss price expectations, but also to spend much time reviewing all the pluses and minuses of your house. Your realtor will not only use your expertise to properly market your house; but will also apply his expertise to highlight advantages that you may not have realized. He or she will also discuss negatives that were not apparent to you. The realtor is the professional who brings extensive skill to enhance the real market advantages of your house and to minimize the problems that might exist.

So, let the realtors do what they are being paid to do, sell your house. Understandably, it is stressfull to pack up the pets and be away from your home during a showing, while a disinterested buyer may only spend less than 15 minutes in your home. To minimize your stress, wait until the agent arrives and excuse yourself at that time, avoiding the irritation of an agent arriving a bit late.